“We Won't Grant Him Medical Parole Even If He Dies Here”
(Minghui.org) A 38-year-old man has been repeatedly denied medical parole despite his critical condition after two years of hunger strike to protest his 3.5-year prison term for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Tong Mingyu's parents received a call from Tailai Prison in Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang Province on August 17, 2019 and were told that their son was dying.
The elderly couple traveled more than 200 miles from Harbin City (also in Heilongjiang Province) to Qiqihar on August 20 and finally saw him the next day – the last time they were allowed to see him was on December 18, 2018.
Mr. Tong's mother burst into tears upon seeing her son in a vegetative state.
Mr. Tong couldn't move or talk. His eyes were closed. He had a feeding tube in his nose. His weak breath was the only evidence that he was still alive.
Mr. Tong's mother asked him if he felt pain anywhere in his body. He didn't respond, but tears came out of his eyes.
A prison guard mocked him on the side, “Seems like he still has some emotions left.”
Mr. Tong's mother found Xiong Dehui, the head of the prison administration office, and demanded medical parole for her son.
Xiong responded, “We won't grant him medical parole even if he dies here. We have rules from above, [he's denied the parole because] he refuses to give up practicing Falun Gong and went on a hunger strike.”
Xiong told Mr. Tong's parents that they were sending him to Harbin City Central Hospital for treatment. But when his parents went to the hospital on September 6, their hearts sank upon seeing the poor conditions and primitive equipment in the hospital.
“We are not sure if our son will receive the treatment he needs here,” Mr. Tong's parents said.
They went to the prison administration office and to the appeal office to requested medical parole for Mr. Tong Mingyu again, but still to no avail.
Arrest, Sentence, and Hunger Strike
Mr. Tong, a native of Harbin City who worked in Beijing, started a hunger strike after he was arrested on June 25, 2017 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong.
Mr. Tong was sentenced to 3.5 years by the Changping District Court in Beijing on February 2, 2018. He was first held at Taihe Prison in Beijing for a month before being sent to Tailai Prison on April 25, 2018. He was transferred to Fengtun Prison, also in Qiqihar, in August 2018.
Mr. Tong continued the hunger strike in the prison and has been in critical condition since.
When his parents visited him in late August 2018, he was suffering from serious anemia. His face and hands were very pale and he had to be assisted by two people. The prison force-fed him to maintain his life.
After a short visit with Mr. Tong weeks later on September 17, his parents were denied visitation on October 15.
When they were allowed to see him again on December 18, 2018, they noticed that Mr. Tong's face was still pale but his lips were red. They suspect that the guards had put lipstick on him to try to cover up his symptoms. His eyes were tightly shut and he was unresponsive.
Their requests for medical parole were repeatedly denied by the prison authorities.
Mr. Tong was transferred from Fengtun Prison back to Tailai Prison in August 2019. The guards refused to explain to his parents the reason for the transfer.